Recruiting – part VII – Do Academics Standards Matter

 

 

Finally, the recruiting class of 2014 is in the barn for Division I schools.   Final rankings tell us a lot about how these football programs will perform in upcoming years.   Some football programs recruit football players and some programs recruit student-athletes.  Over the past several years, certain teams have shown us that they can do both.    

Academic standards vary from team to team and from conference to conference.  Many times, particularly here in the Heartland, conference teams will insinuate that the lack of academic standards in the SEC gives that conference the edge and has transformed the conference into the best in the land.   As the saying goes, those living in glass houses should not throw stones.  While the SEC will never rival the Big Ten or the ACC in academics, the SEC and Big 12 are about the same when it comes to this area.  

 

Cutting to the chase, it is important to note that all Division I schools have the same academic requirements for their athletes.  The NCAA uses a sliding scale for test scores and grade point averages. Basically, a player must score a 17 on the ACT test and the 2.5 grade point average (GPA) in the classroom.  While these minimum academic requirements apply to all Division I football playing schools, an individual university or conference can create higher standards for their players. 

This happens in the Big Ten and Pac 12 and among many private universities.  For example, high school players need not apply to Michigan, Stanford and/or Notre Dame without a 21 ACT.  On the other end of the spectrum, Mississippi State, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State will go to great lengths to recruit players that can sniff out a score of 17 on the ACT. 

These facts came into play during the conference realignment era as Texas and Oklahoma were considered for Big Ten.  OU was outside the standard, normally expected of a Big 10 university but the David Boren edge along with the pull from top 50 Texas, gave the suggestion promise.  Once it was revealed that OSU, with its bottom feeder academic ranking had to be part of the deal, the possibility of a move to the Big Ten was sunk.

By examining the US News and World Report  academic list and the Rival100 recruiting list for 2014 one can get a much better idea of the universities that value both football and academics.  As can be seen from this list, it appears the need to recruit players to meet certain academic standards may be hurting the Big Ten cause.  The Big Ten leads among power conferences academically, but comes in last in the recruiting wars.  The ACC and Pac 12 seem to have created a balance between academia and winning.   The SEC is next to last academically yet, first when it comes to recruiting.

The bad news for OU — even with the record number of national merit scholars and Boren’s penchant for academia, the Sooners still rank in the bottom half among power conference teams.  The good news — under Boren’s leadership, OU should continue its march up the academic chart.  Currently, the Sooners rank 42nd among the 62 power conference schools.  Further good news is the Sooners are ranked #4 academically among Big 12 universities and #1 in the conference in recruiting. 

US News and World Report

Academic ranking of Division I football-playing universities. (Average of conference schools in parenthesis) 

 

  1. Big Ten (27)
  2. ACC  (27)
  3. Pac 12 (38)
  4. SEC (47)
  5. Big 12 (55)

 

Rivals100

Recruiting…

 

  1. SEC (17)
  2. ACC (33)              
  3. Pac 12 (37)         
  4. Big 12 (39)          
  5. Big Ten (44)

 

Full list: 

Academic rankings of power conference teams with overall college/university ranking in parenthesis…

 

  1. Stanford (5)
  2. Duke (7)
  3. Northwestern (12)
  4. Vanderbilt (17)
  5. Notre Dame (18)
  6. California (20)
  7. UCLA (23)
  1. Virginia (23)
  1. Michigan (28)
  2. North Carolina (30)
  3. Boston College (31)
  4. Georgia Tech (36)
  5. Penn State (37)
  6. Illinois (41)
  1. Wisconsin (41)
  1. Miami (47)
  2. Florida (49)
  3. Ohio State (52)
  1. Texas (52)
  1. Washington (52)
  1. Georgia (60)
  2. Maryland (62)
  1. Pittsburgh (62)
  1. Syracuse (62)
  1. Clemson (62)
  1. Purdue (68)
  2. Virginia Tech (69)
  1. Texas A&M (69)
  1. Rutgers (69)
  1. Minnesota (69)
  1. Iowa (73)
  1. Michigan State (73)
  1. Indiana (75)
  1. Baylor (75)
  1. TCU (82)
  2. Alabama (86)
  1. Colorado (86)
  1. Auburn (91)
  1. Florida State (91)
  1. Mississippi (97)
  2. Tennessee (101)
  1. Nebraska (101)
  1. North Carolina State (101)
  1. Oklahoma (101)
  1. Kansas (101)
  1. Iowa State (101)
  1. Oregon (109)
  2. South Carolina (112)
  3. Kentucky (119)
  1. Arizona (119)
  1. Utah (121)
  2. Arkansas (128)
  1. Washington State (128)
  1. LSU (135)
  1. Kansas State (135)
  1. Oklahoma State (142)
  1. Mississippi State (142)
  1. Oregon State (142)
  1. Arizona State (143)
  2. Mississippi (150)
  3. Texas Tech (161)
  4. West Virginia (170)

 

 

 

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Recruiting part V…

SEC Domination of Texas High School Talent?

 

Astute football fans admit that the Texas A&M move to the SEC was a huge success.  From Johnny Football to national exposure to a new stadium, the Aggies are much better off now than ever before. Included with the move came a once in a lifetime recruiting surge for the Aggies.   The Aggies have now replaced UT as the team that gets its pick of the litter when it comes to Texas high school talent.  In 2014 the recruiting haul by the Aggies was ranked in the top five by every recruiting service and currently A&M is ranked  #1 nationally. 

Many believed that the Aggie move to the SEC would create a feeding frenzy by other SEC schools hungry for Texas high school talent.  Fortunately, for the Big 12 that fact has never materialized.  According to Rivals the SEC picked up twenty two (22) of the top 100 players in Texas in the most recent recruiting season.   By subtracting the thirteen (13) signed by A&M, that leaves only nine (9) for the rest of the SEC.  In other words the A&M move to the SEC may have helped A&M, but it has had little impact on the rest of the conference.

Seventy five (75) members of the Texas top 100 were signed by teams outside the SEC.  The Big 12 with its fifty six (56) signees led the way with the biggest haul by any conference.  Basically, the LSU’s, Alabama’s and Georgia’s of the SEC realized that there was plenty of talent within their own borders and decided to stay home to reap those benefits and as a result left Texas alone. 

As a result, hope springs eternal for the future of the Big 12.   As long as the Big 12 can continue to maintain its grip on Texas high school talent, the conference will have a legitimate shot at a final playoff spot in future years. Below is a list of power conference and the number of Texas top 100 players who signed with these conferences. 

Texas Top 100 players…

 

  1. Big 12 (56)
  2. SEC (22) with 13 signed by Texas A&M…
  3. Pac 12 (12)
  4. Big Ten (4)
  5. ACC (3)

 

 

 

 

SEC Domination of Texas High School Talent?

Recruiting part V…

SEC Domination of Texas High School Talent?

 

Astute football fans admit that the Texas A&M move to the SEC was a huge success.  From Johnny Football to national exposure to a new stadium, the Aggies are much better off now than ever before. Included with the move came a once in a lifetime recruiting surge for the Aggies.   The Aggies have now replaced UT as the team that gets its pick of the litter when it comes to Texas high school talent.  In 2014 the recruiting haul by the Aggies was ranked in the top five by every recruiting service and currently A&M is ranked  #1 nationally. 

Many believed that the Aggie move to the SEC would create a feeding frenzy by other SEC schools hungry for Texas high school talent.  Fortunately, for the Big 12 that fact has never materialized.  According to Rivals the SEC picked up twenty two (22) of the top 100 players in Texas in the most recent recruiting season.   By subtracting the thirteen (13) signed by A&M, that leaves only nine (9) for the rest of the SEC.  In other words the A&M move to the SEC may have helped A&M, but it has had little impact on the rest of the conference.

Seventy five (75) members of the Texas top 100 were signed by teams outside the SEC.  The Big 12 with its fifty six (56) signees led the way with the biggest haul by any conference.  Basically, the LSU’s, Alabama’s and Georgia’s of the SEC realized that there was plenty of talent within their own borders and decided to stay home to reap those benefits and as a result left Texas alone. 

As a result, hope springs eternal for the future of the Big 12.   As long as the Big 12 can continue to maintain its grip on Texas high school talent, the conference will have a legitimate shot at a final playoff spot in future years. Below is a list of power conference and the number of Texas top 100 players who signed with these conferences. 

Texas Top 100 players…

 

  1. Big 12 (56)
  2. SEC (22) with 13 signed by Texas A&M…
  3. Pac 12 (12)
  4. Big Ten (4)
  5. ACC (3)

 

 

 

 

Recruiting – Part IV…

Power Conference rankings…

 

Simply put the face of college football will be changing over the next few years.  Leading the way will be power conference teams that strengthened themselves through the conference realignment process.   These conferences have also improved their lot through the recruiting process.  While coaching and player development will always play a major role in winning championships, winning becomes a lot easier with blue chip talent.   

 

The realignment maize has left college football with five power conferences going into the 2014 playoff year.  Setting the table for the inaugural playoff season by examining recent recruiting rankings can go a long way in predicting conferences that will be represented in these playoffs.   

 

The following chart represents Rivals100 power conference ratings in recruiting over the past three years.  By identifying the number of conference teams with top 30 classes, conference talent levels can be identified.   Given this fact, it is safe to assume that the SEC, ACC and Pac 12 will likely be represented by teams in three of the four playoff spots, the fourth and final spot becomes critical.  If talent does indeed matter, that fourth playoff position is up for grabs between the Big Ten and Big 12.  

 

While the Big Ten may have a leg up on the Big 12 due to the overall strength of the Big Ten’s recruiting Class of 2014, OU’s Sugar Bowl win may provide the conference with a lifeline.    That big win coupled with a resurgence in recruiting and a ton of returning starters in 2014 may allow OU to carry the conference to the fourth playoff spot.

 

Below is a listing of power conferences and the average number of Rivals100 Top 30 teams over the past three years.  During that three year span the SEC has averaged eleven (11) teams per year followed by the ACC and Pac 12 with six (6) and the Big Ten and Big 12 with three (3)teams. 

 

  1. SEC (11)
  2. ACC (6)
  3. Pac 12 (6)
  4. Big Ten (3)
  5. Big 12 (3)          

 

OU ranking in…               

2011…#14

2012…#11

2013…#15

2014…#15         

 

 

Recruiting Update – OU vs. rivals & OU vs. Big 12…

 

 

Recruiting – Part II…

OU versus rivals…

 

While the pipe dream of securing all four super blue players left on the OU plate did not happen, it was close.   The Sooners nailed down four star players Steven Parker, Michaeh Quick and Kenneth Frison.   The Sooners lost out on Diondre Clark, but picked up three star recruit Courtney Garnett and Orlando Brown.  The thought of losing Clark should be softened by the fact that the Douglas defensive end signed with non-rival LSU and the fact that his mom may end up being a bigger head-case and meddler than Charles Thompson.  Orlando Brown is the son of former pro lineman by the same name.  His signing came out of nowhere and added icing to the cake.   

 

The spurt at the end catapulted the Sooners ahead of both the Longhorns and Cowboys…This group combined with the starters coming back in 2014 will go a long way in putting the Sooners back in the final four and national title picture in the near future.   

   

Consensus of Rivals100/247sports/ESPN/Scout.com rankings in parenthesis…

  1. OU (14)                
  2. Texas (17)          
  3. OSU (24)                                                             

 

Recruiting update – part III…

The Big 12…

 

It is always fun to envision what things may look like two, three and even four years down the road.  As we know head coaches come and go and the facilities war will continue to rage unabated, but for the most part a football program must play with the cards it is dealt.   Previous recruiting science studies bear out that the teams that recruit the best do the best. 

Big 12 final rankings…

Consensus of Rivals/247sports/ESPN/Scout rankings in parenthesis…

  1. OU (14)                                                     
  2. Texas (17)          
  3. OSU (24)                                             
  4. Baylor (26)                                         
  5. West Va. (38)                    
  6. Texas Tech (39)
  7. TCU (44)
  8. Kansas St. (49)                                  
  9. Iowa State (55)
  10. Kansas (57)                        

 

 

 

 

Recruiting – Part I…

Recruiting Season Highlights…

 

  • Alabama #1 ranking for the fourth year in a row spells a clear case of dynasty, both for the Crimson Tide and for the SEC.  The SEC had seven teams ranked in the top ten. 

 

  • All of this makes the OU win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl all the more impressive. 

 

  • The impact of the OU Sugar Bowl win will never fully understood.  At one point the Sooners were ranked as low a #38 by Rivals.  After the win, interest skyrocketed.  Both Mixon and Parker made it clear that they would not have signed with the Sooners without the Sugar Bowl win.

 

  • Great teams reload every year.  With this recruiting class and 17 returning starters OU is on its way back to those days.

 

  • On the down side the conference had no teams ranked in the top ten for the second year in a row.  This fact may be problematic for the conference’s’ RPI next year.

 

  •  There appears to be life in Morgantown after all.  Holgorsen recruited his next Geno Smith and the Mountaineer 2015 class is ranked #6 in the nation by 247sports.

 

  • Baylor’s new stadium paid dividends in 2014, but not as much as expected.  The flirting of Art Briles with Texas hurt the Bear cause. 

 

  • Can’t miss difference-makers are players that rank in the top 100.   Joe Mixon, Michaeh Quick and Steven Parker are difference makers.   Texas and Baylor with two and Iowa State with one round out this group.  

 

  • Stealing Joe Mixon away from the Pac 12 was similar to OU stealing Adrian Peterson away from Texas a decade ago.  Hopefully, the results will be the same.

 

  • The Texas A&M move to the SEC continues to pay huge dividends…The Aggies captured the  #3 national recruiting class that included two (2) of the top ten and three (3) of the top twenty five players in America.  With this in mind, OU convincing Steven Parker to stay home was no small feat. 

 

  • Give Paul Rhoads and Iowa State credit.  Convincing one of the top receivers in America to stay home and play in the cold wasteland of Iowa was no small accomplishment.  Alan Lazard is a national top 50 player and a difference maker.   

 

  • It appears that Kansas has decided to continue the K-State formula filling up its recruiting classes with juco players.  Only time will tell if the results are the same.  2014 is a must win year for Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks. 

 

  • The OSU spin doctors proved their worth once again.  In spite of SI’s Dirty Game exposé’ the Cowboys recruited a top 25 class.  In the old days, negative recruiting would have made sure this did not happen… Sometimes I miss the good old days…

 

 

Part I…Class of 2014 Highlights…

Part II…OU versus rival schools…

Part III…The Big 12 rankings…

Part IV…Power Conference rankings…

Part V…Power Conference Recruiting = 2014 Final Four Placement…

Part VI…Did the SEC stranglehold over Texas high school athletes materialize?

Part VII…Do academics matter in recruiting? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recruiting series…

Recruiting series…Beginning Sunday, February 9, 2014…

 

Part I…Class of 2014 Highlights…

Part II…OU versus rival schools…

Part III…The Big 12 rankings…

Part IV…Power Conference rankings…

Part V…Power Conference Recruiting = 2014 Final Four Placement…

Part VI…Did the SEC stranglehold over Texas high school athletes materialize?

Part VII…Do academics matter in recruiting?